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Family benefits from autism accessibility at Surrey Canada Day

Every year, the City of Surrey hosts one of the largest Canada Day celebrations in BC. Presented by Coast Capital Savings, this past month’s Surrey Canada Day featured rides, fireworks and performances by Bif Naked and Our Lady Peace.

Thousands were in attendance, including Julia Langley and her family. For her 9-year-old son with autism, the crowds and noise of the festival environment can be overwhelming.

That’s why the City of Surrey partnered with us to offer CAN Sensory Friendly Spaces at all their major events. Featuring comfortable seating, sensory toys and quiet games, this was the first year that Surrey Canada Day featured the space for guests in need of a break.

“My son was not coping at all. I thought there had to be a sensory zone somewhere,” Julia shared with us after the event.

“Sure enough, I see the CAN tent. And inside is a table of noise-cancelling headphones amongst all sorts of fidgets and sensory gear.”

“My son was desperate to go because he knows that CAN is somewhere he can go and feel better. We are so grateful they were there so that we could all enjoy the Our Lady Peace concert!”

After announcing CAN Sensory Friendly Spaces last year, City of Surrey has taken the lead in hosting this resource. It is thanks to them that families like Julia’s can enjoy major community events like Surrey Canada Day.

Visit City of Surrey’s Accessibility webpage to learn more.

Family at a Canada Day celebration with Canadian flags and noise-cancelling headphones

Julia’s son with autism was struggling to cope with the noise of the festival environment until they found CAN’s tent with noise-cancelling headphones on loan.

“We are thrilled to provide a sensory friendly space at this year’s Canada Day. It’s a fantastic opportunity for us to encourage inclusiveness and increase accessibility for all of our residents,” said City of Surrey Mayor Doug McCallum in a pre-event press release. “We thank the Canucks Autism Network for their partnership in creating this welcome addition to Surrey’s Canada Day.”

There are many reasons to celebrate on Canada Day. At CAN, we have special reason to celebrate our country’s diversity and inclusion.

With groups like City of Surrey, we can continue to make community spaces more accessible for all individuals and families living with autism.

To learn how you can partner with CAN to make your community organization or space more accessible, please visit canucksautism.ca/training or email mailto:[email protected]!